Sportress of Blogitude

Dolphins wearing shirts bearing a credo in effort to move past bullying scandal (photo)


The bullying scandal involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, among others, ominously and disruptively hung over the Miami Dolphins’ entire 2013 season. The team was unable to get out from under the troubling allegations and ensuing controversy as the story seemed to feed itself as another as a sordid detail seemed to emerge with each passing week, leading to an unstoppable and all-encompassing media frenzy.

With both Martin and Incognito off the roster and the Dolphins organization desperately trying to move on beyond the distractions, a shirt has emerged that features a credo which the players will try to live by in order to avoid going through another hellish ordeal like many of the players suffered through last season.

Following Wednesday’s spring training practice, players removed their pads to reveal the gray shirt all were wearing underneath.

Created by the players, the shirt contains messages of solidarity, brotherhood and togetherness. And while a bit wordy — the shirt includes 10 sayings, beginning with “I am a Miami Dolphin” —  the message cannot be denied, and if all Dolphins players buy in to it, the team has a good chance of finally putting the bullying scandal in the past.

Perhaps the most pertinent message on the shirt as it relates to last year’s scandal-plagued season is the following: “If I see something — I will say something — I commit to call it as it is,” indicating that even if something similar to what occurred last season were to happen again this year, players expect one another to put a stop to it before the situation spirals out of control.

Head coach Joe Philbin, who had no part in the creation of the credo shirts, expressed appreciation and satisfaction at how the players are taking ownership in the team.

“I think the best way to do things is to give them some ownership and let them feel like I’m not coming down from the mountaintop and saying this is a must and this is a mandate,” Philbin said. “I thought they did a good job. I thought they gave some consideration and some thought to it and I think it’s good. Probably ‘I’m a professional,’ is one of them I like. But I think I like them all. They’re all good, but that one sticks to me. It’s kind of all encompassing, entails a lot. ‘Team first,’ too. Maybe I like team first better. I’m trying to picture the T-shirt.”